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Sometimes Peanuts and Cracker Jack Replace Hearts and Flowers

13 Feb, 2015

By: Tracey Schelmetic
Sports Industry Cashes in on Valentine Dollars

While Valentine’s Day has long since been an excuse to sell greeting cards, flowers and chocolate (Americans will spend nearly $19 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts this year), the rest of the retail industry has made attempts – sometimes rather ridiculous ones – to reap some of those romance dollars, and the sports industry is no exception.

Several sports teams have attempted to reap some of those Valentine’s Day dollars in the past, offering Valentine’s Day promotions with tickets and giveaways, or package deals (a sporting event and a romantic dinner), no doubt hoping to take advantage of the one day a year a spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend of a sports fan is willing to grit her or his teeth and shell out for tickets. In 2011, the Phoenix Coyotes had a brilliant idea:  during a Valentine’s Day game, the team and a local jeweler handed out 3,000 cubic zirconias to women who attended the game, and announced that one of the faux diamonds was actually the real thing with an estimated value of $5,000.

Other teams have tried a number of tactics, including gift card giveaways, recorded Valentine’s Day greetings from players, beer discounts (because nothing says romance like $1 off a Bud Lite) and dinner overlooking the playing field. (Here’s a roundup of some of the more innovative offers.)

And since the holiday falls on a weekend this year, there are, oh, about a thousand themed fitness activities, from fun runs to tennis tournaments to classes -- or even two-for-one couples' deals on registration to these events.

Sports fans may wish to tread carefully in Valentine’s Day territory, however. Not all offers are created equal, and not all Valentine’s Day surprises are likely to inspire luuvre. (Chances are good, for example, that she may not appreciate two 10-piece orders of wings for $14 in honor of Valentine’s Day at Hooters, though it may be an ideal way to end a relationship without actually saying the words. Despite what their promotion says, love probably isn’t in the air at Hooters, and your loved one may not actually want a Hooters calendar -- at least not if it's the guy who's making the purchase).

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